Fourteen regular season home games plus an invitation to the Preseason WNIT highlight the 2013-14 Stetson University women’s basketball schedule, which was released on Tuesday.
The Hatters are coming off their best season in school-history, registering a school-record 24 wins, capturing their fourth Atlantic Sun Conference Championship, and earning their highest-ever seed to the NCAA Tournament (14).
The Hatters open the season on Nov. 8 at Oklahoma, a team that advanced to last year’s NCAA Sweet 16. The game will be Stetson’s first in the preseason WNIT, a 32-team tournament in which the Hatters will play at least three games.
“Our preseason schedule is one of the toughest that we have ever had because of the WNIT and the number of good teams that will be participating,” Stetson head coach Lynn Bria said. “I really think we will be very well prepared for our conference based on our out-of-conference opponents."
Stetson will play its home opener on Nov. 18 against Indiana State. Stetson went 14-1 at home last season and is 30-2 (.938) in its last 32 games at home. The Sycamores won 18 games last year and played in the WNIT.
"Indiana State is very, very good program," Bria said. "They have done very well in a strong conference. They have done a great job building that program."
The Hatters will play four of its next five games on the road against in-state non-conference opponents, including trips to Bethune-Cookman (Nov. 20), Florida State (Nov. 29), Florida A&M (Dec. 2), and USF (Dec. 8). USF (22-11) and Florida State (23-10) each advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year.
"It’s just a really hard schedule, it really is," Bria said. "It’s going to be interesting with this team. I do like it because we are so young and we have so many new players. It will be good to see where we are very quickly. That is a positive for us in having a tough schedule. We will find out what we do well and what we need to improve on very early in the season."
Stetson will play four times at the Edmunds Center in December, beginning with its annual Volusia County Schoolchildren Day on Dec. 5 vs. Palm Beach Atlantic. The Hatters will also face Charlotte on Dec. 17, completing a home-and-home series that originated last year.
The 26th Annual Hatter Classic returns to the Edmunds Center on Dec. 20-21. Stetson will face Murray State and Nicholls State during the two-day event. Stetson has won each of the last three Hatter Classics.
Following the holiday break Stetson embarks on its 18-game, double round-robin conference schedule. The Hatters will play seven of their first 11 A-Sun games on the road, beginning with a Jan. 4 contest at Florida Gulf Coast. Other road games include Mercer (Jan. 12), Kennesaw State (Jan. 14), Northern Kentucky (Jan. 26), Lipscomb (Feb. 2), USC Upstate (Feb. 4), ETSU (Feb. 16), North Florida (Feb. 20), and Jacksonville (Feb. 22).
The home portion of the A-Sun schedule features USC Upstate (Jan. 9), ETSU (Jan. 11), North Florida (Jan. 23), Jacksonville (Jan. 25), Kennesaw State (Feb. 13), Mercer (Feb. 15), Northern Kentucky (Feb. 27), Lipscomb (Mar. 1), and Florida Gulf Coast (Mar. 8).
The Atlantic Sun Conference Basketball Championships will feature a new format in 2013. The quarterfinals will be held on Mar. 11 at campus sites with the higher seed serving as the home team. The semfinals and finals will be held Mar. 15-16 at the site of the highest remaining seed.
Stetson returns a strong corps of six letterwinners from last year’s record-setting team, including sophomores Amena Brent (Homewood, Ill.) and Cha Cha Williams (Bolingbrook, Ill.), juniors Cherisse Burris (Blue Springs, Mo.), C.J. Coddington (Davie, Fla.), and Jama Sharp (Mooresville, Ind.), and senior Sasha Sims (Fayetteville, Ga.). Seven newcomers will join the squad.
Single-game and season tickets can be purchased by calling (386) 738-4287.